Entrepreneurial burnout: the quiet force that can rip entrepreneurial dreams right out from under your feet.
It’s no secret that entrepreneurship is incredibly hard. Most entrepreneurs work insane hours, hold tightly to their business idea, have inadequate funding, and face enormous pressure – a perfect recipe for entrepreneurial burnout.
Plus, launching a business is kind of like beginning a marriage. The excitement of the engagement period, wedding day, and honeymoon are eventually followed by the setting in of reality: real life goes on, and a successful marriage takes a heck of a lot of hard work. For entrepreneurs, the new adventure is exciting, and the vision of creating a new enterprise that changes the world is a compelling motivation to work.
But as time goes on, the hours become exhausting, the goal of starting and sustaining a profitable business seemingly insurmountable, the amount of work overwhelming. The positive, motivated attitude can come crashing to the ground from poor work habits, disenchantment, and failure to adhere to a few cardinal rules regarding life, body, and mind.
So, what’s an entrepreneur to do to avoid entrepreneurial burnout and withstand the challenges of business over the long haul? Here are a few tips to keep your entrepreneurial passion soaring and your life energy flowing in a powerful and positive way.
11 Ways to Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout
Take Time Off
Do something fun. Your mind needs a break. Being under constant pressure is not healthy physically, emotionally, or mentally. Being involved in other activities, especially ones which require moderate levels of physical exertion is a great way to re-charge your little gray cells.
Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is go to sleep! None of us function well when
we don’t get enough sleep. Stop trying to defy your humanity and start getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. You will feel better, physically, be sharper mentally, and enjoy the day so much more when your mental agility is enhanced by allowing a “brain dump” to clear out the garbage in your brain. That actually happens when you are sleeping.
Mix Up Your Routine
Monotony breeds boredom. Break up your routine and keep your work life something to look forward to. Don’t do the same things in the same way each and every day. Think about bringing something new into your life every day— either a book, a new food, a new friend, or a meeting outside the office, rather than just around the coffee pot. Mix up your approach to work and even the most monotonous work can experience a little spontaneity and color.
Play to Your Strengths
Nothing saps a person’s concentration or motivation more than having to deal with projects, issues which are at the perimeter of your skill and aptitude. Concentrate on what you are really good at. It is more fun, and you will find yourself actually rejuvenated as you progress through the work day.
Delegate those areas that you are not strong in. That’s the whole reason for having a high performing team.
We all know the importance of regular exercise. Daily exercise will not only keep your body
strong and increase your physical endurance, but it will also strengthen your mental capabilities. Exercise releases powerful endorphins that serve a wide variety of positive functions for your body, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Developing a positive mind set is crucial to avoiding burnout. Let’s face it: there will always be something going wrong. You’ll burn out in 10 minutes if you always focus on the negative. On the flip side, it is hard to keep an optimist down. Positive thinking not only improves your attitude and performance, it improves the people around you, as well. So choose to focus on the positive even as you are aware of the negative.
Acknowledge Small Accomplishments
A clock ticks 3,600 times before it chimes the hourly chime. Success is a lot like this – you may have 3,600 tiny “tick” successes before you get the big “gong” success you are after. Acknowledging success, even in small steps, provides a “feel good” factor for you and your entire team and reminds you that each tick takes you closer to the goal. The work may be hard, but acknowledging any progress is a great mental barrier to fatigue.
Keep Short Accounts
No one can work effectively and tirelessly when there is discontentment within the ranks. Make
sure the “little foxes do not spoil the vineyard.” Address areas of discontentment or disagreement early on. Do not allow them to fester and grow. Keeping short accounts with your team will contribute to positive emotions and mind set to keep you and your team in top form.
Take Regular Breaks Throughout the Day
Indulging too much in one particular area can quickly burn you out. Neuroscience has shown us that we really do need a physical break after about an hour and a half. Time your work in blocks so that you have scheduled breaks scattered throughout the day. When you have a break, physically move around the office. Try stretching or going for a 5 minute walk. You will be amazed as to how rejuvenated you will feel physically and mentally.
Remember Why You Are Here
A bit of nostalgia might just be the best thing for your entrepreneurial success. Keep your vision and calling before you at all times. Remember why you started this company and the journey that brought you to this place. Recall the blissful moments when you thought you could conquer the world sitting at a table with an idea written on a napkin. Hone your vision and mission – remembering what “world changes” you first dreamt of is a powerful antidote to burnout.
The best things in life take grit, sweat, and a lot of hard work. Entrepreneurship is no different. Implementing these eleven things just may be the difference between calling it quits and divorcing your business or having a long-lasting, successful enterprise.